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Adventures in Webcomickry

I want to make a new comic. Not for print, just for web, and designed to make the most of that format. Small, simple pages that I can update regularly, and probably use of animated gifs and stuff. As you know, I'm a big 'mspaintadventures' fan. I love how that comic takes the medium to new and exciting places. Animation, music, interaction, even the topbanner and the webpage sometimes becoming part of the adventure!
I realised that maybe instead of making loads of fancrap for mspa, I should make my own comic that's a similar kind of thing but totally original, just taking some influence from the format. This would be a web-only project. I would be making it with no intention of printing. It's something I've kind of chickened out of in the past. I guess because I crave the approval of my peers, but... well, I gotta get over that. If they don't read it, they don't read it. I could have so much of a bigger readership if I did a comic without having to make it print quality and so labour over every page for the sake of a few people who want a print copy. From a business standpoint, webcomics are better for me unless I have a publisher.

The comic I intend to make will be a mythic adventure full of mysteries about a bunch of people stuck in a network of caverns with weird pocket worlds in them. Stranger still, they find themselves unable to see or interact with each other, except through the doodlings they write and draw on the walls, and also they're developing strange supernatural powers. It would be dialogue-light and the pages would be small and landscape format. The style would be in my lineless style, aliased, a bit like mspa 'hero mode' and would make use of animated gifs. It won't involve huge amounts of reading, which I hope will convince some of those of you who aren't generally into webcomics to give it a look.

The Blue Team

some more 'Rex Duodecim Angelus' Homestuck fanflash stuff. This time it's the Trolls. In the opening minute, we have shots of all 12 Trolls split into their two teams. I'm currently working on my preferred Red team, but I've done work on the Blue:




The hardest by far were Feferi and Eridan because of their complex weapons, which I essentially had to copy from the comic, rotate, resize and then rebuild in places, all while having to switch in and out of indexed colour mode so they wouldn't become anti-aliased. Agh.

It's amazing with aliased art how big a difference a single pixel can make. It's a quick style to work in, but not an easy one at all. Doing these taught me some techniques I'm now able to apply to my usual artwork, and particularly things about digital painting. I think maybe it's one of those things were learning the most basic stuff gives your more complex stuff a boost.

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Aaaaand try again

Okay, so I posted the Runaways pages that went spectacularly wrong and now it seems right to post the ones that went a bit better. It's the same pages, first 5 of Runaways vol 2 issue 2. There are things I'd change about these. I did them just before I started feeling more comfortable drawing less manga style faces, and also kind of during my study of panel composition, meaning some panels are much better than others. Bluh, yeah, some of it feels a little awkward.







It was interesting. Alphona is one of my favourite artists, but I wouldn't say my style is anything like his. In shot choices and art style, these pages came out quite differently from his originals. The other surprising thing is how different some of these shots are from the previous attempt! Sometimes it's really good to redo one of your own comics with hindsight.

EXMENZ

More arts! This journal is steadily becoming more and more of an art blog hahahaha!

Okay, so the deal with this was basically that I needed to make a bunch of stuff late last year to show at a Marvel Portfolio viewing. I prepared a bunch of pencils in 'their' style. I picked X-men because I figured if I went for Runaways, my favourite property, it'd be too manga and not show that I could potentially draw iconic characters and superheroes.
To avoid being too dated, I deliberately went with retro costumes for the pages. I did, however, do a pinup of Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-men to show that I was relatively up-to-date on Marvel comics.







As you may remember, the result was that while Mr. Wacker thought these weren't bad, he was actually way more impressed with my Manga Jiman entry. Yeah, the sparkly shoujo beach one. Not what I'd expected at all! Just shows how the industry has changed in recent years; they're much more open now to different styles.
I don't dislike these. I reckon I could do better now though having put more time into developing my drawing style for more detailed styles and been working on my panel layouts recently.

I AM ERROR

When doing my Marvel submission I ran into numerous problems. One of the big ones being DOING THE ENTIRE COMIC WRONG AND HAVING TO START FROM SCRATCH.
I will be posting the proper version later, but for now, here is the version which I did wrong. I inked it then double checked the specs to find I wasn't supposed to have, and due to the way I'd pencilled it, the pencils were unsuitable. Pretty epic fail, right? Fortunately the redone pages were better.

If you want to compare these to Alphona's or have the dialogue, if you have a copy of Runaways vol 2, it's the first 5 pages of issue 2 of the second BKV/Alphona run.







I'll be posting a lot of comics stuff because I also have scanned the portfolio files I did for TB a while back.

Just a heads up

I have disabled comments from people without an LJ account. I'm sorry to the tiny number of friends who occasionally comment without an account, but lately there's been a huge upsurge in spam messages on this journal and I'm sick of having to delete them all the time.

Things I do for money

I don't always post stuff I do as paid commissions, mainly because the majority of it is kind of boring really, but I thought I'd post some stuff I've done for web banners, if for any reason because some of these you may see on a site without ever realising I did them:


You probably saw the original art for this one. I did this as a banner for a regular client. He likes manga art, so a number of things I do for him are in manga style like this one, and also the one below:

A banner for a site about poker tips hahaha! This one, the client wanted a colour scheme that was reminiscent of poker but was also Samurai at a temple, so I suggested something that had a bit of a feel of the Casino Royale opening. It was a strange brief, but the result wasn't bad. One of the things to note with all of these is that I'm left to make my own decisions on fonts, so it's kind of design and illustration mixed.

Sometimes however, the brief isn't really manga related at all, so you get stuff that not everybody would necessarily recognise as my work Like these:

For things like this, Digital painting can be amazingly quick and easy. The kite was added in to balance the composition. Which I guess goes to show that just occasionally you can pick up actual useful things in high school art hahaha!

I had a lot of fun with the colour scheme for this. They're all web-friendly hex colours too!

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Some more

Continuing with the sketches. I don't think Rocket and Juu came out as well. I wasn't really 'in the zone' as much when I drew them...


Juliet.


Rocket. Not too happy with this one, I spaced the eyes a bit too wide and I don't feel it reflects her personality well. Rocket is hard because she's sort of strange and mysterious but not really a 'mysterious waif' archetype because she's got a very chirpy, straightforward personality. Still, the whole point of the exercise is to learn by doing! Every failed attempt is a lesson learned.

Non FDG but still trying the same kind of style:

Kanaya. One of my favourite MSPA characters, talking about this tendency in the fandom that irritates me. I don't mind people doing it for a laugh, but when fanart galleries are full of that crap it's a pain!

My next thing will probably be try applying this better drawing style to a digital painting. I've been working on my painting techniques too. GOGOGO Gotta improve! YEAH! FAITO!

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Now with extra noses

So I decided I needed to shake things up a bit with my art. I'm just not one of those people who can feel happy without trying new things on a regular basis. I want to try to draw better when I draw faces in a bit more of a detailed, realistic style. This doesn't mean I'm abandoning manga or anything; I just like being able to work in many different styles. I already put these on my Twitter today, so maybe you saw them there already.

So here we go with attempts at the Fan Dan Go characters in a different style.


Sarin. This was the first one that actually went right. There were like 6 attempted sketches that went really wrong before this. Eyes are slightly wonky, but it's not too bad. I think this is the best one for capturing the personality of the character.


Rekki. I'm really pleased with myself for doing a half-decent job on the eyes in a profile view. The mouth is a little too low down. Probably I'd bump it up a little if I did this again. The expression came out pretty well. Rekki is actually the hardest to visualise as a real person because everything about her is kind of larger-than-life and cartoonish haha!


Zephyr. "Oh well, I guess I should try to draw a bloke too..." Zeph came out even more Nomura-esque than the others. I'm not really surprised that my Nomura influence becomes very visible when I try to draw like this hahaha. It's an odd thing to say, but my favourite part here are the ears. Very happy with them!

I'll probably try to draw some of the others. I've been amazed by the good response I got to these, so I want to see where I can take this style.

Sneaking Mission

Lately I've rediscovered the fun of MGO, Metal Gear Online. It comes with Metal Gear Solid 4, and it's basically an online vs mode. It's a good laugh actually. Not perfect, but some things I like are:
*It's in 3rd person rather than 1st. The thing that I like about this is that it makes the stealth element better, the close combat much better and more fun (you can do all the stuff Snake can do in the game, like grabbing people, dragging them, using them as a shield, searching them for items, etc. It also gives you much better peripheral vision. One of the things I hate about FPS games is how you're playing a person who cannot turn their head. In this game, it's in 1st person when you're looking down gun sights, but you can also make use of third person and over the shoulder view.
*The Cardboard Boxes. You couldn't have a Metal Gear game without hiding in boxes. The box is actually way more useful online than in MGS4. Every level is scattered with randomly spawning cardboard boxes identical to the one you can use. This puts a degree of paranoia into the game; do you attack every box you come across and risk drawing attention to yourself with the noise, wasting time or not looking up for enemies, or do you run past boxes and run the risk it was a hiding enemy who will sneak up behind you? Most people actually do the latter, making the cardboard box actually a great tactic if used well.
*Good Level Design. Each area is well designed with lots of routes around, hiding places etc. No two games I've played on the same map have played out the same way. The design of the game discourages using the same tactic over and over or camping in one spot, particularly since when you get killed, you get to see who attacked you and where they were, meaning that on respawn you can go and get the person if they stay where they are!

It has a level up system which I'm not sure if I like or not. It's a little unfair in a way, but at least the structure lobby it clear what level people are playing in a session, and you get an exp bonus for playing well against people above your level, and an exp penalty for playing badly against people below your level. I keep getting xp bonuses, so I guess I can't be a terrible player hahahaha. Another problem is the lack of a 'players vs. bots' mode, because playing against other players is not really the same as playing MGS because they're all always expecting an attack, unlike MGS where you're infiltrating a place with guards just generally patrolling. It's kind of a shame there's no random scenario generator for MGS4 really, as the gameplay was really fun, but the actual game had a pretty poor gameplay-cutscene ratio -_-;